Readers’ Choice 2022: Specialty/Gourmet Market

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Mollie Stone’s Markets

In addition to serving grocery shoppers at nine locations in the Bay Area, Mollie Stone’s Markets also actively partners with local schools and food banks — and the company has been named a Readers’ Choice winner this year. Founded in 1986 by Mike Stone and Dave Bennett (now retired), the company embraces a philosophy of the “Best of Both Worlds,” striving to provide items that fulfill “Necessity and Passion.” Specializing in healthy, natural and specialty foods, the company’s buyers work closely with local producers.



Berkeley Bowl Marketplace

(510) 843-6929  •
Berkeley Bowl Marketplace opened in 1977 in a building that formerly housed a bowling alley, hence the name. Today, the store occupies a bigger space and has a second location, Berkeley Bowl West, which took over a former ketchup factory. Through it all, founders Glenn and Diane Yasuda have been committed to selling organic and natural products, and the stores are known for their extensive produce section.

Piedmont Grocery 

(510) 653-8181
Though Piedmont Grocery has been in business since 1902, today, the legendary store has been named a Readers’ Choice winner. This full-service grocery provides “everything from cleaning supplies and paper goods to cereal and baking products,” and sells canning jars in the summer. That said, it’s also a gourmet grocery store, stocking truffle paste, fleur de sel and umami paste. Something for everyone! The store also is proud of its selection of international items and the takeout bar. 



Draeger’s Market

Draeger’s has stores in San Mateo, Menlo Park, Los Altos and Danville, all of which specialize in gourmet fare. San Mateo’s store is home to the Viognier Restaurant, and three of the four locations feature a cooking school. Draeger’s stocks produce, meat, wine, liquor, bakery goods, deli foods, flowers and housewares. Not bad for this J. favorite, which was founded over 90 years ago as Draeger’s Delicatessen.



Nugget Markets

For 17 years, including 2022, Nugget Markets has been selected as one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” and J. readers speak highly of their shopping experiences. Nugget has 16 locations across Northern California, where the company offers top-quality perishables, chef-prepared foods, organics/specialty grocery items and conventional goods, all in a European-style marketplace. 

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